The lunch menu at Pure Thai (764 Ninth Avenue, 212-581-0999), $5-$10
This Ninth Avenue shophouse is worth the jaunt from a Midtown office — the noodle soups will keep you coming back regularly.
If you have time to make the midday trek to Ninth Avenue from your Midtown office, then you’ve likely tried a number of the restaurants just beyond the tourist-heavy delis and mega-chain concepts that hug the fringes of Times Square. But if you have yet to make it to Pure Thai Cookhouse, put it on your list, not least because every single item on the lunch menu is $10 or less. This shophouse-channeling outpost deals in a number of Thai classics, from green papaya salad ($7.50) to pad Thai ($9) to stir fries permeated with blistering heat ($9-$10). The real draw for us, though, is the noodle soups; the hot bowls of intensely perfumed broth bob with duck, calamari, or pork. The nakorn-patom duck noodles soup ($10) made our list of 100 favorite dishes this year; we like punching up the shimmering five spice-imbued liquid with extra heat and then slurping up the thin noodles voraciously. And by the way, the Pure Thai lunch menu is also available at dinner — it will run you about a dollar or two more per (larger portioned) dish.
Restaurants open at a dizzying pace in New York City, and keeping up with what’s hot takes some serious cash. If you — like us — need the occasional reprieve from a food-forward spending spree, you’re likely always on the lookout for cheap eats of high quality. In this space each day, we’ll highlight a tasty dish that rings in for less than $10, spotlighting places worth checking out when you’d like to get full while giving your wallet a break.